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Things looking up for some at Hillcrest

Notice to businesses to vacate stores in Hillcrest Mall by Nov. 30 – in advance of impending demolition and construction of the second phase of Bosa Properties’ Miramar Village – has not left all store owners without a plan.

And even those who have not yet secured a new location are trusting that loyal clientele will follow them into new premises.

Hillcrest Bakery and Deli – third-oldest business in the city – has announced it will be moving across the street to the Saltaire building as soon as September.

Bombshell Hair Lounge has also lined up a new location, at Central Plaza, adjacent to Debbie Mozelle Designer Optical on Foster Street.

Taka Sushi will lose its premises for the second time in two years – it was previously left homeless by the fire that ripped through the Ocean Ridge building at Five Corners in May 2016.

But while owner Dylan Dilyar admits he invested a lot in refurbishing a previous sushi operation at Hillcrest, he says he is hopeful he can move the successful restaurant back to Five Corners before the end of the year.

Dilyar, who signed a lease for the Hillcrest location that started in February, said he had to buy the previous business to access the lease.

“I thought we could stay a year,” he said, noting that the business has been consistently busy since it opened its doors at Hillcrest.

Dilyar said while he is leaving his options open, he is talking with owners of the Ocean Ridge, currently undergoing reconstruction, to see if he might resume the business there.

“It might be ready for occupancy at the end of this year – I’m hoping to get in there by December.”

David Moyer, who, with wife and business partner Sheana, bought Hillcrest Bakery and Deli in 2011, said they started looking for new premises as soon as Bosa informed tenants at the end of last November that it would be moving ahead with the long-awaited second phase of Miramar.

All four of the highrises were approved by the city in 2007. The first two – standing 21 and 17 storeys high – were completed in 2010. The second phase was delayed by market conditions, but returned to the city’s horizon early this year. Last month, Bosa gave Hillcrest merchants six-months notice to vacate, and began offering previews of the final towers.

“The question we’ve been asked ever since (November) is what’s going to happen with the bakery,” said Moyer, who has been involved with the business since 1988.

“When we took it on, we knew we were going to have to move it – it was always our intention to keep it open and keep it in White Rock.”

Moyer said he and Sheana are proud to be keeping up continuity for customers of the popular bakery, which was founded in 1972 by Nick Groot. It’s only exceeded in length of operation by Penguin Meats and White Rock Travel, he said.

He said he was puzzled to hear that some other businesses were surprised by the notice to vacate.

“Bosa Properties was only required to give six months notice, but they notified all the businesses late last year. I think our lease only calls for 120 days notice, but they gave us a year, which was super-decent of them.”

While the lease in Saltaire starts July 1, Moyer said it’s more likely the new premises will be ready by late September.

“It’s a huge investment for Sheana and I,” he noted, adding that while the new premises – adjacent to Bean Around The World and a hair salon on the east side of the Saltaire building – are a little smaller than the current store, “we’re going to have an awesome patio with an ocean view – one of the best patios in uptown White Rock.”

Helping the transition, he said, is that he and Sheana and their architect have been very proactive in vetting their plans with the city planning department and Fraser Health inspectors.

“If it’s not up and running by the end of September, we’ll wait until after Thanksgiving – that’s a huge time for us,” he said.

Moyer said they will be able to sell stock on hand during the transition.

Jessica Proulx, owner of Bombshell Hair Lounge – which has been at Hillcrest five years – says she’s also investing in new equipment because the new Central Plaza space is larger than her current salon.

“I knew five years ago this was eventually going to happen,” she said.

“We started looking for a new space in December – it’s been a bit of a struggle. We definitely won’t have the same walk-by traffic, but a lot of our clientele like to walk, and at least it’s just around the corner.”

Nancy Holt, owner of She’s Some Kind of Wonderful Boutique, said she is maintaining faith that “somewhere wonderful is waiting for us,” which will allow her to stay in White Rock and continue to serve a very loyal client base.

“If you think it and write it, it will happen,” she said, adding that she is planning to rebrand her business to Holt Couture.

She, too, was not surprised by the six-month notice to vacate.

“The only disappointment is that it couldn’t wait until Dec. 31 – Christmas is always a busy time for us.”

Kim Williams, manager of WorldServe Thrift Store, which helps support the non-denominational Christian WorldServe Ministries, said the organization is hoping for a location nearby.

“Our head office is looking into it – we’re just waiting to be told where we’re going,” she said. “We’re really hoping to stay in the community – White Rock is a wonderful place to be.”

Alex Browne

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